Cal State San Marcos receives $3M grant for students with children


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SAN MARCOS, Calif. (CNS) — A grant of more than $3 million from the U.S. Department of Education will go toward supporting Cal State San Marcos students who have young children, it was announced Thursday.

The four-year grant — awarded through the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program — will go to student parents who could use child-care assistance while they work toward graduation. It will create the CSUSM Child Care Access Program in partnership with the Center for Children and Families on campus.

“The CSUSM Child Care Access Program will support dozens of our student parents with infant to pre-K age children to access full-time and high-quality child care on campus while they pursue their educational goals,” said Viridiana Diaz, CSUSM’s vice president of student affairs.

“The program will also help student parents build a supportive network that will connect them to campus programs, resources, and other developmental opportunities.”

Once up and running, the program is expected to support about 50 student parents with subsidized child care.

The program is directly in response to the high — and rising — costs of childcare in the county. According to the San Diego County Child Care and Development Planning Council, child care costs $1,300 to $1,600 a month for a child under 5 in the county, and a family of four must make more than $118,000 annually to be self-sufficient in the county.

Family income data from last fall shows that 52% of CSUSM undergraduate students have family incomes below $60,000 per year, indicating an especially strong need for supplemental support in the student-parent population, a college statement reads.

The grant will fund subsidies for childcare for CSUSM students who are enrolled in six or more academic credits during a particular semester. The subsidies will prioritize low-income students using a sliding scale, with student parents whose expected family contribution level would make them eligible for federal Pell grants receiving the most assistance.

Some of the grant funding will be used to hire a program coordinator or director to develop a plan to reach out to student parents across campus. This individual also will partner with support systems like the Cougar Care Network, the ASI Cougar Pantry, and CalFresh to “promote these resources and help student parents identify other community-based support programs that might be available to them,” the statement reads.

As part of the required grant reporting, data will be collected from program participants to show how child-care support has affected their academic success and their engagement with campus life.

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